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< Back to question What are the best research philosophies in academia? Show more Show less

The term research philosophy refers to a system of beliefs and assumptions about the development of knowledge. In layman’s terms, a research philosophy is the choice a researcher makes on how to pursue his research, consciously or subconsciously. Scholars have identified five of the most prominent research philosophies in academia, however, choosing one is a matter of debate.

Critical Realism Show more Show less

Supporters of critical realism claim that reality is much more than our senses allow us to see, preferring to focus on the bigger picture.
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Critical realism advances historical knowledge

Critical realism accounts for a more complete and well-rounded account of history due to its focus on how individual perspective contributes to the whole story.
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The Argument

Critical realism is the best research philosophy because of how it advances historical knowledge. This is because critical realism understands that humans are subjective beings who cannot understand the ‘real’ world for what it objectively is.[1] A person will always see the world from their individual point of view which is subjective. Therefore, what they interpret as reality is not universal, and it does not represent the real world. In order for us to study and understand history, we have to understand that there is no one single version of history. Rather, history should be studied from multiple perspectives in order to understand what happened because everyone has a different interpretation of the event. By bringing all the interpretations together, a much more comprehensive version of events is developed. This is what critical realism strives for – to acknowledge that we cannot see the ‘real’ world and therefore should look for multiple perspectives to understand as much as we can. 
 Critical realism is important for the advancement of historical knowledge because it stresses the individual perspective and therefore seeks out multiple perspectives. This ensures that all sides of history are told. In addition, it is reflexive, meaning that it is continuously evolving because it knows that we cannot know the real objective truth of any event.[2]

Counter arguments


[P1] Humans are subjective beings. [P2] The ‘real’ world can only be observed subjectively. [P3] History is subjective. [P4] Critical realism understands that history is subjective and tries provide a multiple perspectives to historical knowledge.

Rejecting the premises



This page was last edited on Friday, 10 Jul 2020 at 22:53 UTC

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